If you’re a hardcore iPhone user chances are you struggle with battery life sometime during your daily life. You get too involved with a game, see an extraordinary amount of e-mails, do some serious web surfing and before you know it your battery level has dropped to dangerously low levels before dinner time.
There are several external battery choices in the iPhone accessory market. Some clip to the bottom and just charge the phone, others are more like cases, some even have lights and lasers. Out of all of them the Mophie Juice Pack Air is arguably the most functional of the bunch.
The Mophie Juice Pack Air offers the protection of a hard shell case while providing you with nearly double the iPhone’s battery life. Inside the box you’ll fine the Mophie Juice Pack Air, a Micro USB charge and sync cable and an instruction manual. The battery itself is a 1200mAh lithium polymer battery which Mophie says is good for over 500 full charge cycles.
The Juice Pack Air comes in three color varieties. White, Black and Purple. Mophie is currenrly considering adding more colors to the Air soon.
The case itself consists of two parts. The bottom piece, which makes up the bulk of it and contains the battery and power indicator. This piece is very reminiscent of the original Mophie Juice Pack. What makes the Air different from then original Juice Pack is the additional top piece which when installed offers maximum protection for your iPhone.
Installation of the phone into the case is quite simple. You simply slide the iPhone into the bottom portion of the case until it meets and locks onto the dock connection at the end. Then you can slide down the top piece and clip in into place.
Once installed the Mophie Juice Pack Air does feel larger and heavier than a regular hard case but that’s to be expected, after all it’s more than just a case. It does have a glossy feel which is a little on the slippery side.
You’ll also notice two gaps on the bottom of the case to allow the microphone and speaker to remain accessible. I’m not a fan of this design and would have rather seen some sort of perforation on the bottom instead, but this is a minor complaint.
With the case on all your ports and buttons (except the dock connector are accessible.) There is a full cutout for the volume rocker and vibrate switch. The camera lens is cutout perfectly and so are the sleep/awake button and headset jack.
What makes the Mophie Juice Pack Air unique is its power switch. Most of the other external batteries work only one way. You attach them to your phone and the phone immediately begins using their power. Once the phone has depleted the battery’s power it starts using it’s own.
The Mophie is different. It comes on only when you want it to. By turning the power switch off you let the phone use its own battery. When you turn it on it switches to the Mophie. This allows you to choose when you charge your iPhone and for how long. You can manage the Mophie’s power yourself conserving its power for when you need it most.
The back of the Mophie Juice Pack Air features a power indicator. Pressing the button illuminates LEDs. There are four LEDs each representing 25% of the battery’s power. You’ll always know how much power is remaining in the Juice Pack Air.
In my testing I’ve found that the Juice Pack Air is good for about one full iPhone charge. That means if your iPhone’s battery is about to be dead you’ll be able to fully charge it back to 100% using the Juice Pack Air. Double the battery.
If you’re looking for an external battery that doubles as a case this one is certainly worth checking out. I previously used the Incase Power Slider and the Phonesuit MiLi Power Pack. Both of those have been replaced by the air. It offers the best fit in the slimmest package and its on/off switch allows me to use the power when I want to and only when I want to.
For those of you wondering if the Juice Pack Air will work with your Invisible Shield or Best Skins Ever installed, Mophie offers this note:
NOTE: The juice pack air is made to fit the iPhone 3G in its natural state. If you have protective skins, cases, etc. you may find it difficult to place and remove your iPhone from the case. (screen guards/shields are okay)
-Standby Time: Up to 270 hours
-Talk Time: Up to 4.5 hours on 3G | Up to 9 hours on 2G
-Internet Use: Up to 4.5 hours on 3G | Up to 5.4 hours on Wi-Fi
-Audio Playback: Up to 20 hours
-Video Playback: Up to 6 hour
Other product specifications are as follows:
-Product Dimensions: 4.90 in x 2.59 in x 0.75 in; 2.66 oz
-Battery Capacity: 1300 mAh
-Estimated Shipping Weight: 1 lbs
-Item model number: jpa-IP3G-BLK. jpa-IP3G-WHT, jpa-IP3G-PRP
-Shipping: This product ships world wide
-Product Category: Cell Phone External Battery
-Product Compatibility: Apple iPhone 3G
-Package Content Included: juice pack air™, usb-cable, User’s Manual
-Patent Pending: iPhone not included
More information on the Mophie Juice Pack Air can be gathered from the Mophie web site.
M.S.R.P. - $79.95
What I like – Hard case protection and external battery combined in one sleek case.
What I don’t like – Gaps at bottom for microphone and speaker. Can’t use Apple sync cable or dock.